Lights needed to grow plants indoors

Lights needed to grow plants indoors



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You know blue light is essential for growth and development. You know red light promotes flowering. You know LED grow lights are most efficient. Do I need all this extra research. While the color spectrum is essential for expert cultivation, it is not the only factor that can make or break your operation.

Content:
  • Robot or human?
  • How to Build a Grow Light Setup to Grow Plants from Seeds
  • Will house plants grow under normal LED lights?
  • 13 of the Best Grow Lights for Indoor Plants and Seedlings
  • How to Talk to Your Plants: Using LEDs to grow better crops
  • A guide about light for your indoor plants during winter
  • mindbodygreen
WATCH RELATED VIDEO: How to Grow Plants using CFL and Florescent Lights - Growing Indoors Cheap, Easy and Effective

Robot or human?

But for the rest of us, an indoor lighting system of some kind is a necessity. This primer on indoor lighting for seed starting will help you choose the options that work best for you.

Light color is also referred to as color temperature, with cool light describing the blue end of the spectrum and warm light being the red end. Sunlight contains the complete spectrum of light, including all colors of the rainbow. Although plants use the full spectrum for photosynthesis, red and blue light seem to be most critical. Red light stimulates vegetative growth and flowering but if a plant gets too much, it will become tall and spindly.

Blue light regulates plant growth, which makes it ideal for growing foliage plants and short, stocky seedlings but too much will result in stunted plants. You can tell which color a grow light produces by looking at its Kelvin rating. Lamps with a rating of Kelvins will appear bluish, while those with a Kelvin rating will be reddish. The intensity of light that a plant receives is determined by the wattage of the bulb and the distance between the plant and the light source.

So, for example, a brighter bulb that's farther away from the plant could provide the same light intensity as a dimmer bulb that's closer to the plant. Different plants have different light intensity needs, but most seedlings grown for the garden will need higher intensity light to flourish.

In general, the leaves should be about 2 - 4 inches away from the light source assuming use of a fluorescent bulb — see below. There's still debate about how many hours of supplemental light is ideal when starting seeds and growing plants indoors. Most vegetables and garden plants require at least 16 to 18 hours of light each day; without enough light, they get pale and leggy. The conventional advice was to turn lights on for 16 hours each day. However, some growers maintain that 24 hours of consistent light every day provides a better outcome when growing seedling i.

It's certainly easier to leave your grow lights on all the time and that's what I do. If you choose to go with 16 hours on, 8 hours off, put the lamp s on a timer so you won't forget to turn the lights on or off. You can choose between incandescent, fluorescent, LED, and high-intensity discharge HID bulbs, each of which has its own pros and cons.

Choose the grow light that works best for the type of plants you want to grow and where you plan to grow your seeds. These include halogen bulbs and are the type of light bulbs still used in most homes although they're getting harder to find now that stores are carrying only more efficient bulbs, such as CFLs and LEDs. Incandescent bulbs are a good source of red light, but a poor source of blue, meaning that plants will likely become spindly when grown under incandescent light. Incandescent bulbs, and especially halogen bulbs, also produce a lot of heat in relation to the amount of light they give off; plants growing too close to the bulb can be easily burned.

These types of bulbs produce two to three times more light than incandescent bulbs for the same amount of energy and are the most inexpensive lights for indoor gardening. However, they usually require bulky external ballasts like, for example, overhead shop lights so aren't as easy to work with as incandescent and LED bulbs. Cool white bulbs are a good source of blue and yellow-green light, but are a poor source of red light.

Plants grown under cool white bulbs will be stocky or even slightly stunted. Warm white bulbs emit plenty of orange and red light, but less light in the blue and green spectrum. These bulbs, when used alone, result in tall, spindly plants. If you are growing seedlings under two-bulb fluorescent fixtures, you can usually achieve a good color balance by combining one cool white and one warm white bulb. A set of stacked shelves with fluorescent T5 lamps or LED lamps makes it easier to grow a large number of seedlings.

Full-spectrum fluorescent bulbs produce a balance of cool and warm light that replicates the natural solar spectrum, although these are less energy efficient than other fluorescent bulbs and tend to produce more heat.

But, given the wider range of light frequencies emitted by these bulbs, they are a good choice for growing seedlings. These are the lamps you're most likely to find in grow light kits.

Related Review: SunLite Garden full-spectrum grow lights and stand. When using fluorescent lamps, be sure that all plants get ample light. For a typical seedling tray, that means using 2 bulbs, ideally with a reflector hood over them to focus all the light on the seedlings below.

Unlike other bulbs which produce light across a broad spectrum, light-emitting diodes LEDs give off light within a narrow band.

LEDs designed for growing plants emit light in the two bands that plants need - red and blue. The result is a purple glow that not everyone likes. LEDs are mercury-free and won't shatter like glass. These bulbs are long-lived up to 5x longer than fluorescent lamps and very energy efficient, but they cost considerably more than fluorescent bulbs.

Research is still ongoing to determine which combination of light frequencies are best for plant growth and how LED grow lights compare to fluorescent bulbs in producing healthy seedlings.

I haven't seen a definitive answer on this one yet but more and more companies are producing LED grow lights and seed-starting kits, and even commercial growers are slowly moving in that direction. These lamps are used by commercial growers and serious horticulturists. These energy-efficient bulbs generally emit twice the amount of light lumens as a fluorescent bulb. However, the bulbs and special fixtures are considerably more expensive than those needed for incandescent or fluorescent lights.

They also tend to be high-wattage bulbs, so you need to be sure your electrical system can handle the load. Metal halide lights emit an intense, bluish-white light that is excellent for growing plants.

The foliage stays green and vigorous, and plants are usually stocky and strong. Metal-halide lights are currently the number one choice for serious indoor gardeners. Mercury vapor lamps emit a bluish, relatively well-balanced, high-intensity light. High-pressure sodium bulbs are usually used to promote flowering and fruiting but, when used exclusively, they produce leggy, weak-stemmed plants. For the average home gardener starting seedlings indoors, a fluorescent or LED lamp will usually be the best choice to ensure that your plants get the quality, intensity, and duration of light they need to stay in peak condition.

How to Successfully Start Seeds Indoors - This video tutorial shows you exactly how to successfully start seeds indoors, including seed starting mix, containers, sowing, watering, heat, and more. Seeds Have Germinated: Now What? How to Care for Seedlings - After your seeds have germinated what do you do next to grow healthy, stocky seedlings? In this video I cover lighting, watering, fertilizing, airflow, thinning, transplanting and hardening off. Disclaimer — Please note that the Amazon links and only the Amazon links above are affiliate links.

Should you choose to purchase products through these links, GPReview will make a small commission at no extra cost to you that helps to support this website and our gardening product reviews. Thank you! Monica is the founder and Editor of the Gardening Products Review.

She's had a lifelong love affair with gardening and a fascination with gardening tools. She's been known to disassemble tools just to see how they work and has a tendency to break tools while testing them in the garden. Menu Skip to content. Light Color Light color is also referred to as color temperature, with cool light describing the blue end of the spectrum and warm light being the red end.

Light Intensity The intensity of light that a plant receives is determined by the wattage of the bulb and the distance between the plant and the light source. Duration of Light Exposure There's still debate about how many hours of supplemental light is ideal when starting seeds and growing plants indoors.

Incandescent Bulbs These include halogen bulbs and are the type of light bulbs still used in most homes although they're getting harder to find now that stores are carrying only more efficient bulbs, such as CFLs and LEDs. Generally speaking, these are not the best type of lamps for growing seedlings.

Fluorescent Bulbs These types of bulbs produce two to three times more light than incandescent bulbs for the same amount of energy and are the most inexpensive lights for indoor gardening. I've been using the tabletop version of this for over 6 years and have been very happy with it. Price Reduction. The company also seeds seed starting trays and fertilizers. Video Resources.

About The Author. When to Start Seeds Indoors February 19, 0. Sowing Seeds Directly in the Garden May 24, 0.


How to Build a Grow Light Setup to Grow Plants from Seeds

Around this time of year, we start to feel a little wilted. Our plants feel the same way! Growing plants under lights is an easy way to supplement that lost sunlight for your plants. Depending on our goals for indoor growing, there are three main artificial light options to choose from: fluorescent, HID, and LED bulbs. As it turns out, fluorescents are as useful for young plants as they are for young humans.

But if you take those same full-spectrum lights and hang them indoors, they will not behave like the sun. Photomorphogenic responses by plants.

Will house plants grow under normal LED lights?

Disclaimer: Some links found on this page might be affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, I might earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Just like SAD lamps get rid of the blues for those with seasonal affective disorder, indoor grow lights have an even better effect on house plants. Plants are alive and to keep them that way, they need light not necessarily sunlight. The lighting systems used by indoor gardeners help to control much of those elements. In particular, the temperature and humidity obviously the light as well. Those work just like our own veins. Instead of transporting blood around our bodies, the veins on plant leaves transport and store water and sugar molecules — glucose is produced when light hits it — around the plant. When light hits plant leaves, the chlorophyll is energized.

13 of the Best Grow Lights for Indoor Plants and Seedlings

A grow light is an electric light to help plants grow. Grow lights either attempt to provide a light spectrum similar to that of the sun, or to provide a spectrum that is more tailored to the needs of the plants being cultivated. Outdoor conditions are mimicked with varying colour, temperatures and spectral outputs from the grow light, as well as varying the intensity of the lamps. Depending on the type of plant being cultivated, the stage of cultivation e.

This post contains affiliate links. I will earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through these links.

How to Talk to Your Plants: Using LEDs to grow better crops

In actual fact, the opposite is true! At the beginning of my indoor plant journey, I really had no idea about plants. I just found one that caught my eye and stuck it in the corner. Giving plants as much light as possible can go against our plans to spruce up that bare corner or that dark room that needs some life added. If grow lights are new to you, read on to learn specific advice on how to use grow lights for indoor plants.

A guide about light for your indoor plants during winter

Plants , Science and Technology. You might have noticed that your plants are suffering in the dark and have realized that you need to provide them with some additional lighting. So where do you start if you want to be informed about your options without all of the fancy, scientific terminology? This article is a great place to learn about the best growlights for indoor plants available to you so that you can get your plants the lighting they need. Light provides plants the energy they need to live and grow. Leaves in sunlight by Han Lahandoe.

Yes, bulbs that you have in your house can be used to grow plants. However, regular incandescent bulbs do not provide the range of color.

Mindbodygreen

As we all know, other than water, warmth and humidity, light is the crucial component for creating good conditions for growing healthy and strong plants. They need the right quantity of light for photosynthesis which is very important for the energy they need for growth. When using artificial lightning, many of us wonder how long to keep grow lights on plants.

RELATED VIDEO: Everything A Beginner Needs to Know About Grow Lights

Contact your local county Extension office through our County Office List. Light is important to successfully grow plants indoors. It is needed to produce carbohydrates or food energy for plants. As a rule of thumb, the more light a plant receives, the more carbohydrates are produced.

But for the rest of us, an indoor lighting system of some kind is a necessity. This primer on indoor lighting for seed starting will help you choose the options that work best for you.

When growing plants indoors it is often difficult to provide the proper amount of light required to maintain a happy and healthy specimen. With the onset of winter, the days are shorter and the nights are longer limiting the amount of available natural sunlight even further. The intensity of the sun is also diminished at this time of year. The addition of artificial lighting to replace or supplement natural sunlight is important for growing healthy, attractive houseplants and necessary to keep flowering plants in bloom during the winter months. In order for a plant to grow properly the light it receives must mimic natural sunlight. Sunlight contains all the colors of the spectrum and all are necessary for the process of photosynthesis. Red and blue are two of the most important colors vital to plant growth.

While fluorescent light fixtures have traditionally been the best grow lights for supplementing light needs for indoor plants, LED lights are beginning to be used as grow lights and are likely to be the grow light of the future. This is because they give off so little heat that they can be placed close to plants, a common characteristic that LEDs share with fluorescent lights. Even plants next to a window may not be receiving enough of a certain part of the color spectrum that outdoor plants in full sun would naturally receive.


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